the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Oh, Lordy

When Jon and I first started dating we made each other promise that 1) we’d never go back to the Mormon church and 2) we’d never live in Utah again. It’s safe to say that if you don’t do one of these things, you won’t likely do the other one. Mormons are Utah. Utah is Mormons.

Three months into this marriage and we’re already breaking one of our solemn promises: Jon and I are moving back to Utah.

The Lord can’t be happy with us.

So, Lord, I present to you the following reasons why Jon and Heather need to move back to Utah:

– Heather wants to have a baby and if there ever were a place on earth where people know how to have babies that place would be colonized by Mormons.
– Chuck needs a backyard and the average price of a backyard in Los Angeles is $480,000.
– Jon and I are down to our last couple dollars and a gallon of milk in Utah costs less than a couple dollars.
– My mother, the Avon World Sales Leader, lives in Utah and can give us free shampoo.
– They have weather in Utah.
– My sister’s hair lives in Utah.

We’re not sure exactly when this move will take place, only that it has to take place within the next 30 to 60 days. Which means I get 30 to 60 days to squeeze every last ounce of sin from the luscious limbs of Los Angeles.

First on our to-do list is renting a U-haul and stocking it to the ceiling with coffee and shlitz malt liquor.

Second, you need to talk me out of this.

  • Mal

    2002/11/05 at 7:09 am

    Can’t say that I’m the best person for “talking out” but if you need someone on the other side to do apartment/house hunting for you, I can try to be of service. Anything I can do?

  • poop on a stick

    2002/11/05 at 7:12 am

    don’t please don’t…….
    my friend moved there and now he is a card carrying member of AA…
    he has been brainwashed…
    please please please don’t…..

  • Shoefly

    2002/11/05 at 7:15 am

    Dooce, note this:
    Title 76, Chapter 5 of the Utah State Code says that Oral sex is illegal.

    Have you really weighed the consequences here?

  • stace

    2002/11/05 at 7:16 am

    spent a week in utah last spring (capital?/capitol? reef national park? is that the name of it?). it is the most beautiful place i’ve ever seen! had to drive a couple hours for a starbucks, however. northern utah seemed pretty civilized from what i saw. best of both worlds!

  • eggbert

    2002/11/05 at 7:17 am

    i just saw bowling for columbine, and i too am moving from los angeles, taking poor ingrid with me. we’ll probably end up in vancouver, where there is snowboarding in the winter and wonderful concrete skateparks in the summer, and i can fly home to see mom n pop back here in hell.

  • dooce

    2002/11/05 at 7:19 am

    oral sex may be illegal, but the Utah State Code says nothing about bukkake.

  • Bono

    2002/11/05 at 7:19 am

    Shlitz Malt Liquor is indeed, all that you can’t leave behind.

  • beezlebubba

    2002/11/05 at 7:22 am

    You gotta do what you gotta do. Hell-Ay ain’t no place for a baby or the cutest of dogs. And they have snow there, you’re right. And as for the dry counties, isn’t that what the internet is for? Ordering booze and coffee?

  • se

    2002/11/05 at 7:28 am

    My husband grew up in SLC as a non-Mormon, his brother converted to marry a “girl” in a temple wedding, we go back to visit and we’ve driven through Utah many times on our way to other places. Utah is a scary, hive-minded place in a lot of ways. I think it would be incredibly hard to resist the church’s influence living there. I think people tend to either be swayed by the church or reactionary to it–either way it’s influencing you. If you do move, at least you’ll still have Disney Land–what with the church’s efforts to make life seem like Disney Land. “Everybody smile now. Life is all happiness and light.” “Let’s make sure everything is *enlightening*!” You’ll still have the castle-thingy like Disney Land–ala The Temple. And you’ll still have Tinkerbell–the mormon version, Moroni. Sincerely, a Complete Stranger Saying Don’t Move.

  • slackjaw

    2002/11/05 at 7:34 am

    LA or Utah? These are the choices?

    I’m not sure I could lift my head off the pillow in the morning if that were the case…

    Does Utah really need more babies?

  • Naaman

    2002/11/05 at 7:34 am

    That sucks! Although, if there ever was something I missed now that I’m living in California, it’s seasonal changes!

  • se

    2002/11/05 at 7:34 am

    Now I can’t remember if the chorus I heard in my English classes was for enlightening or uplifting. As in, “Why are we reading _The Grapes of Wrath_, _All Quiet on the Western Front_, _A Separate Peace_, etc.? Why don’t we read something enlightening/uplifting?” I’m thinking it must be “uplifting”. Which ever, just make sure you smile.

  • Dave Thomas

    2002/11/05 at 7:37 am

    Good hell, if I had to worry about succumbing completely to foreign influences wherever I went, I would never leave the house. Actually, I wouldn’t go home, either. We have ants. Talk about hive-mindedness.

  • paula

    2002/11/05 at 7:41 am

    If there’s ONE thing I’ve learned from simply observing my friends’ procreation efforts, is that there is nothing quite like the built-in baby-sitting aspect of having family close by. No one will ever love your baby more. Although, speaking for myself only, I do tend to worry about the brainwashing efforts my family might initiate toward converting our child into a bible-owning Catholic, but still…free baby-sitting! Also, if it doesn’t work out, you can always move back before the child is old enough to be assimilated. 🙂

  • April

    2002/11/05 at 7:47 am

    This, now that I’m moving north to Huntington Beach?! I won’t have any cool blogger neighbors!

  • se

    2002/11/05 at 7:48 am

    Dave Thomas
    You’re funny. I’m talking about a pretty monochromatic, far-reaching influence. Want to learn about influence, spend a chunk of time in Utah. I wouldn’t worry about the ants back home, unless they vote, teach your children, carry a gun, decide who gets hired, etc.

  • yesno0001

    2002/11/05 at 7:50 am

    The Utah state dance is the Square Dance. In California, it’s the West Coast Swing.

    Case closed.

  • scared of mullets

    2002/11/05 at 7:51 am

    hmmm… haven’t been to Northern Utah, but went through Southern Utah, and must say it was a hotbed of mullet activity, as well as a haven for those with dubious showering habits… Have you considered moving elsewhere in California? A suburb perhaps, or Nothern California?

  • ex southern babtist

    2002/11/05 at 7:52 am

    Shoefly has a point…do you really want to limit yourselves to only traditional methods?

  • chris

    2002/11/05 at 7:54 am

    i love utah. where else can you get a 2 bedroom apartment for 425 dollars a month? besides the summer i think the weather is really nice. Totally Awesome ComputersÆ commercials are always entertaining. Trax is an clean, cheap way to get downtown. I get excited when i go to utah just so i can eat at some of the restaurants. Evergreen cafe, Bangkok Thai, Chuck O’ Rama, Tucci’s, Oasis… there’s some more but i can’t think of them all right now. Anyways, don’t be such a pessimist.

  • Ariel

    2002/11/05 at 8:04 am

    While this saddens me on a purely selfish “all-about-me” level (I move to LA…and then you two move away!), I absolutely understand the cost efficiency of Utah, and the pragmatism of free childcare and familial support. I have every intention of being back on Bainbridge Island, WA, when I pop my little wiggler out. Whenever that may be. (And please do not tell my parents that we discussed this — they would get too excited.)

  • how did you know my name was Dirty?

    2002/11/05 at 8:07 am

    Say it isn’t so!!

    I swore when I turned 18 that I would move away from all that is hick (St. Mary’s County, MD) and never look back. Five years later I found myself moving back east.

    My compromise? Live in an urban area and never, I mean n-e-v-e-r again live within an hour’s drive of what I lovingly call “The Fah-ma-lee”.

  • helenjane

    2002/11/05 at 8:13 am

    I will heretofore submit a solemn request for you to move to Portland, Oregon, where we are moving.

    I promise, the futurehusband and I will not hardly be creepy at all, hardly.

    Boozy scrabble nights.

    Crashing on our floor “till you find a place.”

    We wouldn’t hardly notice your procreatin’ at all…

  • ryan

    2002/11/05 at 8:18 am

    anywhere, anywhere… anywhere but Utah…

  • LK

    2002/11/05 at 8:19 am

    you’re right, ms. dooce, LA is no place to raise a kid… but where else are you gonna have movie stars come into your kitchen to take scavenger hunt pictures and where else are you gonna see them make out in front of a crowded elevator? 😀

    ahh well.

  • Scotty The Body

    2002/11/05 at 8:22 am

    I actually think Salt Lake City is a fine town (I’m originally from Colorado). I try to convince my wife that we could sell our house in Atlanta, buy a nice bungalow in SLC and get good jobs with nice weather and outdoor activities and clean air and all that. Mormon’s may be a bit “boring,” but, on the whole, they are nice, friendly, hard-working and common sense enabled. Except for that whole part about the angel on the Temple blowing his horn and having all the Mormons bring him their powdered milk. That’s a little strange.

  • Zan

    2002/11/05 at 8:25 am

    Well, at least there’s good skiing in Utah (not much skiing in LA proper, I suppose).

  • Ex-liontamer

    2002/11/05 at 8:26 am

    Dooce, I understand the need for an “achievable” lifestyle. That’s why I live in Baltimore (Hey, Hon!), and not North Jersey (T’sup, dude!) I can dig that. As far as the Utah/Mormon tip, I can only speak on conjecture, not experience. Personally I would have a secret glee telling all my funny-underwear-havin’ neighbors there is no magic man in the clouds and his (allegedly) only begotten son was a Buddhist. Tee-hee! I’m welling up with Atheistic contempt already! Somebody pour me a cuppa joe and light me a smoke… I’M GOING IN! Yeeee-haaa!

  • jess

    2002/11/05 at 8:28 am

    ack, you can’t actually be serious, can you? you don’t want to go back to utah. you really really really don’t.

    find… a baby expert in california. they have to have at least one hiding somewhere.

    oh well. i guess there’s always shlitz malt liquor. i think i might even have some somewhere…

  • Wayne

    2002/11/05 at 8:38 am

    Don’t go to Utah because you’ll have to deal with this:
    (A direct quote from a woman interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition:)
    “We’re not illiterate. We’re smart people. There’s some mighty smart people that lives in the Utah.”
    God bless her, she’s absolutely correct.
    Then again, your sisterís hair has that incredible gravitational attraction….

  • Heather #2

    2002/11/05 at 8:41 am

    Every time I come visit and think I’m going to laugh, you always hit us up on the real tip. OK, have you thought about moving anywhere besides Utah? Here’s a thought: Portland, OR. That’s where I’m from, although I just moved to Pittsburgh. Portland is great, if you liked Cali, you’ll probably love Portland. Smaller, conducive to family life, but still west coast – think java on every corner. See here and here. Just a thought. Plus, you could drive home anytime – it’s far, but not that far.

  • Wayne

    2002/11/05 at 8:41 am

    Don’t go to Utah because you’ll have to deal with this:
    (A direct quote from a woman interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition)
    “We’re not illiterate. We’re smart people. There’s some mighty smart people that lives in the Utah.”
    God bless her, she’s absolutely correct.
    Then again, your sisterís hair has that incredible gravitational attraction….

  • the propagandist

    2002/11/05 at 8:43 am


    Utah is encino without the glitz.

    don’t do it! the sacrifice of LA far outweighs the martyrdom of Utah.

  • Beerzie Boy

    2002/11/05 at 8:44 am

    Never live in a state with politicians named Orrin. All of California is expensive, but you are living in the wrong California. Move to Northern California. Even Fresno or Sacramento has to be better than Utah.

  • Heather #2

    2002/11/05 at 8:46 am

    Ooh, HelenJane, I just read your post! I think we could talk her into that move, and I bet she’d love, say, 23rd or Hawthorne, don’tcha think? Ooh, or Sellwood. Yep, I think Sellwood might be just the spot for our girl, Dooce. Hey, HelenJane, where are you from in Portland?

  • pinky

    2002/11/05 at 8:48 am

    Hi dooce. You may have to leave LA, but there are lots of cheap beautiful places with seasons and backyards AND coffee and beer. Like Wisconsin, Minnesota, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and so many more. People have babies there, they just don’t have them with their uncles, know what I mean? And there are fabulous cities, and you could be just a day’s drive from your sister’s hair and your mom’s shampoo. You have always struck me as kind of a Minneapolis/St. Paul girl, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. Good luck, I mean it.

  • Deuce

    2002/11/05 at 8:54 am

    dear, god. does this mean i get your parking space? whoo-hoo!

    uh, i mean, please don’t go. stay. but then utah is beautiful, so…

  • Dave Thomas

    2002/11/05 at 8:54 am

    People. For once, think of yourselves.

    How many more bizarre celeb brushings can we expect Dooce to have in LA? There are only so many elevators.

    Utah, on the other hand, is dark, fertile soil. There will be stories. And they wonít make you think: “Hey, Giovani Ribisi is gross…Hm, I wonder what it’s like to be Giovani Ribisi…”. No, you can enjoy the Utah freak show with pure, untainted schadenfruedidity.

    Run, Dooce. Run to the everlasting hills. And take lots of notes.

  • devil

    2002/11/05 at 9:02 am

    I escape from utah for 3 years, I had to go to Alaska to get away from the utah vortex. i am back now I am in Park City the only place in Utah that you can drink beer in a public park. It is not bad here, any palace is better than LA. If you like the sunny weather find some place else. For gods sake please stay away from Provo, that place is evil.

  • kelley

    2002/11/05 at 9:05 am

    Beerzie Boy, as a happy homeowner with two happy hounds frolicking in their very large backyard, this Sacramentan is offended. Come to Northern CA, Dooce, it’s beautiful here. Easy drive to Utah. Though I understand the lure of family connections for those reproducing years, and you & the kids can always visit the Osmond studios on weekends. The dilemma.

  • edmund b

    2002/11/05 at 9:06 am

    PLEASE DON’T DO IT, DOOCE! i understand why you are doing it, but just think of all the cool art-house flicks you’ll be missing out on. don’t don’t don’t do it. if you need to move somewhere full of jerk-offs where you can get more land for your money, move to valencia. it’s not that bad. when things with the neighbors get really bad, you and the husband can sneak off to calarts and go skinny dipping in the pool. think about it!

  • Memphis Girrrl

    2002/11/05 at 9:26 am

    Remember high school in memphis and how we were the mormon freaks, now your kids in utah will be the non-mormon freaks. definitely think twice. but hey, i remember buying a gallon of milk there with 160 pennies.

  • arnold

    2002/11/05 at 9:36 am

    what’s the diversity of ethnicity and culture in SLC like? more importantly, are there Starbucks there?

  • vianya

    2002/11/05 at 9:37 am

    Seriously, Portland OR…I live there too. We have seasons and you can buy a house with a yard and the people here are laid back and there are only a few Mormons.

  • eggbert

    2002/11/05 at 9:39 am

    wait a minute. wait a minute. i’m going to be selfish here, but if you move to utah, and you move to utah soon, then that will mean that soon we will have less-interesting dooce posts. it’s like the time i was taking prozac. things were good, they were easy. no problemo, therefore no personality, so there. having said all that, a.d’s have not kept you from posting interesting bits all this time, so maybe that theory sucks. like utah.

  • Jory

    2002/11/05 at 9:42 am

    I never thought I’d go out on this limb but:

    Oh, honestly. Utah isn’t *that* bad. I moved back after 10 years elsewhere (Germany, Arizona, and California — not mormon btw), and quite frankly its great. I don’t think I could have said this 5 years ago, or even two years ago, but honestly, the Olympics worked wonders.
    It was like the sheltered people of UT saw that there was this whole world out there, and shock of shocks, opened their arms willingly.

    As far as cultural goulash goes; almost any art house flick you’ll ever want to see is playing down in Salt Lake, we get tons and tons of *real* concerts, there’s awesome bars and clubs, tons of museums, etc.

    Besides that it’s a huge, ballooning mecca of e-commerce and IT savvy companies, theres no shortage of jobs, the cost of living is low, and above all, it *is* a really great place to raise kids.

    It’s safe, its comfortable, there is no shortage of baby-sitters, and with that many Mormons in the neighborhood, you get a free weeks worth of meals when you move in garaunteed. Ot at least I did. I think you can triple that if you play the innactive member card.

    But yeah, I’ll go with Mal on this one, you need any help, give me a ring. Where would you be moving to, by the way?

  • The Inmate

    2002/11/05 at 9:48 am

    The entire country is screwed up. I say you move out of the US altogether. That’s what I did. Plenty of nicer places out here. Unless of course, you’ve managed to become dependent on the decadence of American society.

  • Alex

    2002/11/05 at 9:52 am

    Ultimately, it’s Dooce and Jon’s decision (which I’m sure it wasn’t an easy one)and if they must do it for the chillins, then they must.

    I am considering moving from Chicago to Louisiana (where the husband is from) when the time comes to have some pipsqueaks. There’s no way I’m raising a kid without a backyard! And a backyard in Chicago doesn’t come cheap.

    So I know that sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do…

  • \b{Kim}

    2002/11/05 at 9:52 am

    Re: The Portland discussion- I live in Portland currently, and it seems like it might be a nice compromise. There *is* weather, but it’s only kind of weather, which may lessen or prevent the sudden shock of under 60-degree winters. (Though I personally would wonder why you want distinct seasons- I’m a 80-degree-year-round-girl meself.) We rent, but I have a few friends who bought, and you can get decent property for less than LA prices (though Utah is probably cheaper). The best Portland argument I’ve heard recently is that Portland is a (small, admittedly) city with a big-town feel. I think it’s because Portland, due to stellar city planning, has a lot of mixed-use neighborhoods– you know, private residences, apartments, restaurants & shops– all in one small area. It means you can walk (!!) to a coffee shop or the grocery store from your house. Or to the park, so Chuckles can go for a run with the other neighborhood dogs & chase squirrels.
    Plus, there are a bunch of cool second-run & limited-release theaters in which you can purchase & consume beer & pizza while you watch movies (good if what you do for fun is watch movies, like me!). And, as others have pointed out, then you’re close enough to family that you can go see ’em, but not so close that they show up unannounced at awkward moments (you know, before the “gotta-hide-it-from-the-parents” stuff is safely stashed).

  • Sarah B.

    2002/11/05 at 9:52 am

    Heather, I have been to Utah — SLC, in fact — which perhaps somehow ups the odds that I might one day return to Utah, especially if you have a little liam. I like the idea of my Armstrongs being closer to me!

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Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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